What No One Told Me About Studying Abroad
Start writing a post
Lifestyle

What No One Told Me About Studying Abroad

If I were to describe Europe in a word it would be "life."

2
What No One Told Me About Studying Abroad
Jessica Suarez

Before September, I couldn't even go near an airport without having a panic attack. Before September, I was so afraid of heights I couldn't ride in an elevator. I was so afraid of terrorism that I avoided parts of New York City. I feared death so much that some nights I would stay home instead of going out to see friends because I was afraid of getting into a car accident. Any kind of transportation made me feel uncomfortable. I could barely walk outside of my house without the fear of death ringing in my ears.

Since I've been abroad, I've not only faced these fears on countless occasions but I've overcome them. I hiked for two hours up the side of a 3,000 foot mountain and took a picture sitting on the edge. I rode a bus that zig zagged through the severe winding roads of the Corniche des Crêtes. I've booked over twelve different flights to different countries across Europe. I've walked home alone at 2 a.m. I haven't really stayed in one night living in Aix.

In a foreign country as beautiful as France, the fear of death doesn't really stop anyone from living. Before going mountain climbing or caving, no waivers needed to be signed. There were no disclaimers or release forms. In the United States, I can't even ride a mechanical bull during Spring Weekend without signing my life away. In France, those are unnecessary precautions. Life comes before the thought or fear of death.

Have I been nervous trying to embrace the risky French lifestyle? Hell yes. I legitimately ran down the side of that 3,000 foot mountain when I saw thunder and lightening in the distance. I had a mini panic attack rock climbing. My hands shook when I pressed "yes" to confirm my flight information.

But study abroad has been the best kind of peer pressure. I have good friends here that encourage me to try new things, adventure and (safely) live without fear. This feeling of invincibility can be dangerous, but it's liberating. I've spent all 20 years of my life afraid to travel farther than the train station 40 minutes away from my house. I've missed opportunities because of the haunting fear of death. I've forgotten how to live.

But in France? I'm not the girl that can't run the river trail around my campus because there might be bears. I'm not the girl that can't take an hour flight from New York City to Buffalo to visit my friends. I'm not the girl that doesn't like to drive past 10 p.m.

When I started thinking about going abroad, the same people told me the same things -- you'll make lifelong friends, see beautiful places and have an experience of a lifetime. But what no one warned me about was the dynamic and overwhelming personality change I would face or the accomplishments I would achieve. No one warned me I'd become the girl that takes every opportunity handed to her, without fearing death.

Studying abroad is, in a word, living. And if I were to describe Europe in a word it would be "life."

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Featured

What Memorial Day Is

The importance of Memorial Day

1904
Haddon Heights Library

Memorial Day is an American holiday, observed on the last Monday of May, honoring the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. Memorial Day 2018 occurs on Monday, May 28. Originally known as Decoration Day, it originated in the years following the Civil War and became an official federal holiday in 1971. Many Americans observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries or memorials, holding family gatherings and participating in parades. Unofficially, it marks the beginning of the summer season.

Keep Reading... Show less
What College Girls Remember from their Summers as a Kid

Yes, summer is almost here.. so what should we remember

Keep Reading... Show less
The 100 Things Millennials have ruined: A Comprehensive List
http://www.factandmyth.com/the-middle-class/are-mi...

Millennials: the generation everyone loves to hate. The babies of 1980 to 1995 take a lot of heat. I mean, we inherited a crashed economy, earn stagnant wages, live with crippling student loan debt, and try to enact change in a rigged system but our affinity for avocado toast and use of technology has wrecked society as we know it! As a tail end millennial, I wanted to know what I was ruining and, like any other annoying millennial would, I did some research. I scoured the internet, read online newspapers and scrolled through every listicle I could find. So, in case you needed another reason to resent the millennial in your life, here are the 100 industries we've killed, things we've ruined or concepts we've destroyed.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

Anxiety Doesn't Discriminate

This month, Odyssey brings about awareness & normality to conversations around mental health from our community.

10892
Anxiety Doesn't Discriminate

It's no secret that even in 2018 our country still struggles with discrimination of all kinds. Society labels individuals by the color of their skin, heritage, religion, sexuality, gender, size, and political beliefs. You are either privileged or you're not. However, here's the thing, anxiety doesn't care about your privilege. Anxiety doesn't discriminate.

Keep Reading... Show less
College Boy Charm is Real and it's Very Sexy
Disney

After surviving a year of college and watching "Clueless" countless times, I've come to the conclusion that college boy charm is very much a real thing and it's very very attractive. It's easiest explained through Paul Rudd's character, Josh, in "Clueless". The boy who has a grip on his life and is totally charming. In this article, I will list the qualities of a specimen with College Boy Charm, to help you identify him at your next party or other social events.

Keep Reading... Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments